print title Sanbutsu ken (1)
sizeōban, vertical
signatureIchiyūsai Kuniyoshi ga
era nameKaei 4
year of publication1851/8
year of publication1851/8
censor’s sealHama, Magome
inscription Omae saihō / Midanyorai mokugyo ga / o-suki de pon poko pon no pon / jihi wa mochiron muryōgō / kan kan kane tsuku / dora o utsu / shaba kara kudari no gokuraku-ken / nan no kotta jabu jabu o-kyō o / yomi yomi sannin sorotte jōbutsu shyo

You have entered the western paradise,
you like the fish-shaped wood block of the Amida-Buddha ponpoko pon no pon
Mercy is natural for eternity
Ring the bell, strike the gong, ding dong
From the earthly world it was passed on, the paradise-ken
What do you say? jabu jabu
Read, read the sūtra
Let us all three enter nirvana!

Name tags:
artificer Kōsai, stacked fans Matsubē, spirals Kippei
image descriptionThree men are playing sangoku-ken. The inscription contains a parodied variation of the sangoku-ken song.
interpretationThis print is a commemorative picture (see picture category shini-e) of three popular kabuki actors.
For this print, the printing block of the Sangoku-ken Nr. 10039, which Kuniyoshi had designed in the year Kaei 2 (1849), was used in a slightly altered version. This print is a shini-e of the 8th month of the year Kaei 4 of the deceased Ichimura Takenojō (Ichimura Uzaemon XII).
Normally, shini-e didn't receive a censorship seal and were released without an artist's seal and signature, but in this print, censorship seal and artist's seal of the original printing plate are still in place.
The face of Utaemon was replaced by the face of Onoe Matsusuke III, who died one month before Takenojō in the 7th month of that year, Matsumoto Kinshō (Matsumoto Kōshirō VI) was depicted instead of Seki Sanjūrō, who died in the 11th month of the year Kaei 2.
The inscription contains a parodied adaptation (kaeuta) of the sangoku-ken song, the image title refers to the three deceased playing ken and is called Sanbutsu-ken (ken game of the three dead souls). The pattern of the clothes of the three actors was replaced by simple patterns.
This depiction was again altered and rereleased as a shini-e by Ichikawa Danjūrō VIII in the 8th month of the year Kaei 7 (Nr. 10058).
The names of the actors are: (right) Hanabishi no Kōsai – Matsumoto Kinshō (Matsumoto Kōshirō VI), (back left) Kasaneōgi Matsubē - Onoe Matsusuke III, (front left) Uzumaki Kippei – Ichimura Takenojō (Ichimura Uzaemon XII).
referenceHara 2005:297-335, TSM1999: 78, Linhart 1998a und 1998b: 193-234
image categoryken no e, shini-e, yakusha-e
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